Eurocamp La Croix du Vieux Pont is a pretty holiday parc near Paris – the perfect base for exploring northern France.
Rating **** (4/5) Eurocamp La Croix du Vieux Pont
Price: An Avant holiday home at La Croix du Vieux Pont costs from £273 in May; £456 in June, £767 in July or £1,292 in August (all prices are per week, per party in a 2-bed Avant and do not include travel to France)
Click here for more information on Eurocamp La Croix du Vieux Pont
There are so many Eurocamp parcs throughout France, all with impressive facilities and the promise of a holiday spent outside in the fresh air, that we found it hard to choose which one to visit. We’d heard that the Aisne Valley and the area around Berny-Rivière was stunning and it’s just 90 minutes from Paris – close enough for a quick day trip. So we settled on Eurocamp La Croix du Vieux Pont in Northern France for our Easter holiday.
We travelled to France with Eurotunnel which was incredibly quick, easy and efficient – the perfect start to our holidays. The journey from Calais to the La Croix du Vieux Pont holiday parc took a couple of hours by car but it was simple and clearly signed and the local area is nothing short of beautiful. Wide open fields, pretty villages and plenty of chateaux. It was almost a shame that the directions to the parc were so good because I would have enjoyed driving around and taking in the scenery for a bit longer. We found the parc easily and were quickly checked in by the Eurocamp couriers. It was a busy day at the opening of the season but we were given a friendly welcome and told how to find our holiday home.
Our holiday home
We were staying in a three bedroom Avant holiday home which was immaculately clean (perfect for a neat freak like me). The kitchen was small but well equipped with a cooker, fridge, microwave, the all-important coffee machine and all the basic kit you need for a self-catering holiday. Storage was a bit limited though, which was actually fine by me because I love every chance to nose around a supermarket in a different country. On warmer days the size of the kitchen didn’t really matter because we could open the doors onto the lovely large outside decking, but when they weather was cooler it was a definitely a one-person-at-a-time space.
The bedrooms were compact but had enough storage for our clothes and our children loved their bunk beds. I was a bit surprised at having to make up the beds when we arrived, but it wasn’t too much of a chore. The bathroom was small but again very clean with a good powerful shower. The living space with its table and booth style seating was fine for the four of us but with many more people it would have been a bit too compact. Thankfully we had good weather for April and were able to eat outside on the covered decking.
The holiday home was surrounded on three sides by a high privet hedge (unlike the pictures on the website which showed it in a woodland setting), which while great for privacy was a bit claustrophobic. There was a parking place for our car, a gas barbecue and a couple of sun loungers on the grass under the trees – these looked out over our neighbour’s mobile home rather than over the adjacent lake though, so that was a bit of a shame.
What about entertainment?
There’s plenty to do at La Croix du Vieux Pont with two lakes, a lovely little lagoon beach with white sand and clean water for paddling in, quad bikes, trampolines, archery, fishing, canoeing, bouncy castles, bowling and bikes to hire. There were several lovely children’s play areas and lots of open space. For older children there were basketball courts, table tennis tables and football pitches. If you’re travelling with teens be warned that the only available WIFI is to be found in the bar area by the pool and it costs a pretty penny – but it’s a good excuse to get them off of their phones.
The swimming pools are impressive, with a winding lazy river, slides and a dedicated children’s pool and splash area. The outdoor pools were a little cool early in the season but on warmer days the poolside was packed with sunbathers willing to risk a dip. The pool was the only activity included in the price of the holiday, all the other activities were extra, which can quickly add up if you’re not careful. We bought an activity pass from the café by the trampolines for €20 which gets you more for your money. Worth noting is the fact that children can play on the bouncy castle for an unlimited time, which means frazzled parents can sit and enjoy a peaceful drink in the adjoining café overlooking the lake.
In high-season there is a kid’s club, which I’m sure our children would have loved. But even without this there was plenty to keep little ones entertained. There’s a huge amount of outside space for them to run around in and the parc felt very safe. It’s definitely geared up for families but if you want a quieter holiday as a couple it was fairly easy to escape the crowded areas.
Where to eat?
Every morning we popped down to the parc bakery to buy freshly baked croissants and bread. The little shop next door was well stocked with basics too – so if you don’t want to venture into the village you don’t have to. There are several restaurants and cafes but we found them quite expensive so we generally chose to barbecue and cook for ourselves. We did have a lovely rotisserie chicken from the busy parc takeaway one evening though which we’d highly recommend.
The local area
Many families we met didn’t feel the need to leave the parc, preferring to stay put and make the most of the many activities on offer – but if you do decide to venture out, La Croix du Vieux Pont is a perfect base for exploring the local area. The staff at the camp reception spoke English well (although they kindly put up with our attempts to speak French) and were happy to give advice on places to visit and where to find the best local markets.
Pierrefonds Castle (the setting for the BBC series Merlin) is 30 minutes away and we spent a whole morning exploring and playing knights. We had a lovely lunch of galettes and crepes in the Creperie le Triskell beside the river.
The local village is pretty and an easy walk away from the parc. There you’ll find a little Intermarche supermarket, some lovely bakeries, a pharmacy and a green grocer as well as a few bars and restaurants.
If you’re after a self-catering holiday with plenty of family entertainment on your doorstep then you can’t go wrong with a Eurocamp holiday and we’d definitely recommend La Croix du Vieux Pont. There’s plenty of opportunity to meet and make new friends and it’s a lovely safe environment for holidaying with children. If you’re on a budget you might want to keep an eye on costs because these can add up quickly. Pack plenty of clothes too because waiting for a washing machine to be free can be pretty tedious! All-in-all though La Croix du Vieux Pont was the perfect outdoorsy holiday and an ideal base for getting to know a new area of France.